Sunday, May 30, 2010

Graduation Day!

The processional begins
Morgan heading for that diploma!
A big thumbs'-up!
Celebrating with long-time friends, Rachel Ruppert (L) and Georgi Spilman (R)
..... and with her friend Sundus (also the student speaker at the ceremony!)
Out to Olive Garden afterwards with family and friends:  Nelson & Sarah...
Grammy & Pop-pop.....
Cousin Laurel and friend Becki...... (who NEVER opens her eyes for photos!)
Uncle Allan & cousin Rachel....
Cousin Rachel and sister Mackenzie....
Aunt Mary and Uncle Jim....
You can dress them up......
Morgan in her "gear"!
Medallion from Phi Theta Kappa (honor society for community colleges)
At home opening gifts!



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

GRADUATION!!! (and other "stuff"!!)

The big day arrives tomorrow -- Morgan graduates from Howard Community College with two associate's degrees, one in Interior Design and the other in Art History.  She has plugged on through some very difficult times and difficult classes (and we won't mention some of the professors' character qualities!!), but is graduating with a 3.9- something GPA.  The "something" part is because the grades for her last two classes haven't been posted yet, but I'm sure she'll do just fine.  We're all excited about this big step in her life.  It may not sound like much to many people, but this is a gal who originally told us in high school that she would NEVER go to college, and saw absolutely no reason to do so. Now to be graduating with such a high GPA, plans to transfer to George Mason University and hopes to get both her bachelor's and master's -- AND hopes to teach at the college level some day -- well, what a huge change for her!!  We couldn't be more proud of her!!

Morgan and I met today with the gal who's going to be helping us plan the wedding.  After my huge upset over the weekend regarding the delay in the bridesmaid dresses, it felt really good to sit down and cover the big list of things that ARE under my control!!  We're making back-up plans for other dresses, just in case, but at least Morgan's dress is here in town, at the dressmaker's shop, being altered........  If HER dress is OK, we'll make everything else work out........ Breathe, relax, focus....... !!!

My parents flew in today from Florida for the graduation.  Their flight was supposed to leave around 12:45.  However, after they boarded, the pilots found something wrong with the navigation system and had to have a part brought in from Orlando.  Why they had to deliver it by DRIVING it to Sarasota (a three hour drive) instead of maybe a helicopter is a mystery to me.  They made everyone get off the plane and wait in the airport for the part to arrive and be installed.  The flight ended up not leaving until nearly 5 pm.  My poor mom and dad!!  They were so exhausted by the time they got into town that they just grabbed some dinner and went straight to the hotel.  We'll get to see them a lot over the next few days, but what a disappointment not to be able to get together tonight.  I hope they get a good night's sleep!!

We're hoping for good weather for the graduation tomorrow.  The ceremony will be held in a very large tent outside of the college.  The weather forecast is for nearly 90 degrees (ouch!!) and the possibility of occasional thunderstorms.  I hope any storms will hold off until AFTER the ceremony!!  I'd rather not be outside with storms and lightning!!

Pictures tomorrow of the graduation!!  Right now, I need to get some SLEEP!!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wedding preparations continue......

Wow...... I should've started saving for this years ago.  I had NO idea weddings could be this expensive!  But things are slowly starting to fall into place: the church is reserved, the dresses are purchased (still need alterations), have met with a photographer, have met with a caterer and are weighing our options on the food issue, have someone helping with flowers..........  We're getting there -- but I think I need to do several more births to help pay for this shindig!!!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Doggie Temper Tantrums....

It's nice outside today -- cool, a slight breeze, not very sunny -- so I decided to take my daughter and our homeschooling friend's daughter outside to do our math lesson. I left Taylor and Cody inside; I knew they'd drive us crazy outside. They sat at the sliding glass door and banged on it with their paws for 15 minutes -- at which point I sent Mackenzie inside and asked her to put the dogs in the crate. This is what she found when she came in --

Can I kill them both now??? Anybody want two used dogs???


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mackenzie's first violin recital

Today was Mackenzie's first violin recital, and I'm really proud of the job she did! You can see her in the photo above wearing the red dress with the white jacket over it. Even though she made a small "oops" in the first piece, she recovered and kept on going -- and told me she was never nervous! What a kid!! Sometimes I think that inside that mild-mannered body are nerves of steel! She constantly amazes me!

The funny part of the first song -- I was playing the piano, accompanying her on these two pieces. For the first one, she plays the song through, then repeats the song playing with 1/8 notes instead of quarter notes. For you non-music types, that basically means that she's playing in doubles what she played the first time -- and when she started playing through the first time, I could tell she was going to end up going at break-neck speed if she didn't slow down!! So you'll hear me trying to play a bit slower, trying to get her to rein it in a bit -- to no avail!! However, she did great anyway, and actually did slow herself down a bit when she got to the doubles -- so we didn't have a "crash and burn" situation!!

Hope you enjoy her playing!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The perils of impatience!

Why do I NEVER learn????  I made such an idiot out of myself yesterday -- to people I don't even know, will probably never meet, and had absolutely NO influence over anyway!!!  The story.......

Morgan graduates from college on the 27th of May.  She's a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society of community colleges.  I knew that in years past, the kids in this group were given a special stole to wear with their graduation gowns; Morgan thought it was going to be kind of cool that she would get to be all decked out for her graduation!  The college held a special graduate recognition day on the 6th, to pick up their gowns, graduation announcements, have pictures taken, etc.  We found out that the college has STOPPED loaning out the stoles and now tells the students that if they want to wear them, they'll need to order them directly from Phi Theta Kappa.  Sigh....... one more expense right now........

Of course, this "announcement" was type-written on a piece of paper no bigger than 3" high and was buried amongst all the other paperwork they sent home that day -- so we didn't discover this wonderful new change of plans until the 10th.  We tried to order the needed item on the Phi Theta Kappa website, but it just would not let us log on and order.  We ended up calling the organization, being put on hold for about 15 minutes, and passed around a bit until the order was finally taken care of.  We were told that the shipping could take up to 10 business days, and I wasn't too concerned; if it shipped fairly quickly, that would still arrive with a few days to spare.  Besides, the "rush shipping" fee was THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS!!  There was absolutely NO WAY I wanted to pay that much -- that was more than the cost of TWO stoles!! So we declined the rush shipping; we were told that we would received a confirmation e-mail when the item was shipped; we paid with my debit card; and we were finally done.

However -- Tuesday: no confirmation e-mail; no bank charge to my debit card......

Wednesday: no confirmation e-mail; no bank charge to my debit card......

Thursday: no confirmation e-mail; no bank charge to my debit card.......

Uh-oh........ this was NOT looking good.  By late afternoon, I decided it was time to call the kind folks at Phi Theta Kappa and give them a not-so-nice piece of my mind!  I called, only to have the call answered by an automated voice that repeated the same line, over and over and over again, about every 30 seconds -- for TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES!!  Then........ click, click, click -- and the phone call was disconnected....... RAGE!!!

I went back to their website, found the "contact us" link and fired off a pretty pointed e-mail of everything they'd done (or not done!) to aggravate me for the last 3 1/2 days, proof-read it (just to make sure it let them know I was REALLY mad!!), and hit the "send" button, confident that this consumer complaint would make everybody hop and take care of the situation!!  I sat at my computer, stared out the window, and thought about how "incompetent" some people can be....... This seemed to me like such a simple thing for them to take care of -- why were they making it so difficult for poor ME???

And so then, of course, what happens?  No more than 15 minutes later, the UPS truck pulled up to my front door -- containing the package I was so desperately concerned about!!  No confirmation e-mail; still no charge to my debit card (that showed up Friday!!); but there was the stole that was causing me so much grief!!

After watching my daughter open her package and seeing her parade around the house in her "finery", I went BACK to my computer and composed my "eating crow" e-mail!!  Oops..... sorry........ I kinda jumped the gun....... I kinda over-reacted......... sorry, you guys did a great job after all........... yikes, I'm an idiot......

I wonder if I'll EVER learn that my impatience will not get these types of things done any faster????


A GREAT Mother's Day Video!!

This was sent to me yesterday by a friend. Apparently, some "mega-church" in the U.S. performed this as the opening to their Mother's Day service. It's pretty funny! Hope you enjoy!! (You might want to give this a minute or two to load before hitting the play button -- you don't want to miss anything!)

Mommy Rhapsody from Church on the Move on Vimeo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

First off, to all my friends, family members and clients who are mothers -- HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY (a day late, but oh well!!!) I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing day.

My day was peaceful and laid back -- just what I needed. My hubby and two of my daughters made me a nice breakfast of french toast, sausage, cinnamon rolls, milk and orange juice. Why it takes three people an hour to put together a meal I could probably do in 10 minutes is a bit of a mystery!! I understand that after watching the "kitchen confusion" for a while, my 11 year old stepped in and assigned tasks to everyone, while taking over the cooking duty herself!! Good for you, Mackenzie!!

While driving to church, Mackenzie and I made a phone call to my mom in Florida to wish her a Happy Mother's Day, too. Wish I could've gone to Florida to see her for the day -- maybe next year?

After arriving at church, I got a nice unexpected call from my other daughter. It was good talking with her, although it was brief, since church was going to start in just a few minutes.

When church ended, Nelson needed to stay a bit late and take care of some things, so Mackenzie and I just ran through Wendy's and got a bit of food to share. Neither of us was terribly hungry, but it would be quite a while until dinner!

We came home and just lounged around for a few hours -- I even got to take a short nap! What a luxury!! Around 4 pm, we met Nelson and Sarah at a movie theater, and all six of us went to watch "How To Train Your Dragon"! What a fabulous movie! (To see one review website, click here.)

Nelson and Mackenzie had gone to see this a while back while on a daddy/daughter date. They came home raving about it, and Mackenzie has been saying for weeks that she wanted to take me to it. So when everyone asked what we should do for Mother's Day, I thought this would be a great way to spend the day with the family. And I'm really glad we did! This is one of those films that I'm looking forward to being able to buy when it comes out on DVD. We'll probably watch it many times -- though I'm wondering if having seen it in 3-D in the theater will make the flat screen show a bit less interesting!

And after the movie, my son treated us all to a FEAST at Boston Market! Yummy!! One of my favorite places to eat out!

So -- a relaxing day, fun times with family, a great meal and GOOD LEFTOVERS!! What more could I ask for??


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Beautiful Spring Day

Mackenzie and I took a walk around the main lake in Columbia, Maryland this AM.  It was just TOO beautiful a morning to stay inside and do schoolwork -- we had to get out and enjoy the glorious day God gave us!!  This was a much better science lesson than anything we could've read in our books!!  We brought the camera and took tons of pictures of scenery, wildlife, and Mackenzie having a good time.  Here's a bit of our morning: